Illinois became the eleventh state in the US to legalize recreational marijuana effective January 1, 2020.

How much cannabis can a resident of the State of Illinois legally possess?

For an Illinois residents who are 21 years of age or older, the possession limit is any combination of the following:

  • 30 grams of raw cannabis;
  • Cannabis-infused product or products containing a total of no more than 500 mg of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
  • 5 grams of cannabis product in concentrated form.


For individuals who register as qualifying patients under the state’s existing medical cannabis program only:

  • Up to 5 cannabis plants and the cannabis produced from those 5 plants, secured within the residence or dwelling unit (no matter how many people reside in a residence, only 5 plants are allowed per residence).
  • Any combination of the amounts indicated above. Additionally, if they have plants that yield more than the 30 grams of raw cannabis, the excess must remain secured in the residence or residential property it is grown.


Can I grow my own marijuana?

Only medical marijuana patients will be able to grow plants at home. They are limited to five plants. Medical cannabis patients may purchase cannabis seeds and grow up to five plants at their residence. There are limitations on home growing, however, including a cap of five plants per household, regardless of the number of residents who are 21 or over, and plants will need to be secured and out of view by the public. Home cultivators can keep what they grow, but possession limits still apply outside the residence, and sales are prohibited unless part of a licensed cannabis business.


Will I be able to smoke wherever I want or in smoking areas?

No, you will not be able to legally smoke marijuana in public. Public consumption of marijuana will continue to be prohibited, as is the case in all vehicles, while apartment buildings and condominiums will be legally entitled to forbid cannabis-use. Smoking cannabis will also be prohibited in any area that currently does not allow smoking under the Smoke-Free Illinois Act.

Marijuana consumption will only be permitted in private residences, away from persons less than 21 years of age. It may be the case that some dispensaries will allow on-site consumption, but approval for this will be at the discretion of local cities and municipalities. Local jurisdictions will be able to decide for themselves if they allow dispensaries to let people smoke on-site.


Where is a person prohibited from possessing cannabis?

The Act does not permit any person to engage in, and does not prevent the imposition of any civil, criminal or other penalties for engaging in, any of the following conduct:

  • Possessing cannabis on a school bus.
  • Possessing cannabis on the grounds of any preschool or primary or secondary school unless approved as a medical cannabis patient.
  • Possessing cannabis in any correctional facility.
  • Possessing cannabis in a vehicle not open to the public unless the cannabis is in a reasonably secured, sealed, tamper-evident container and reasonably inaccessible while the vehicle is moving.
  • Possessing cannabis in a private residence that is used at any time to provide licensed child care or other similar social service care on the premises


Are there certain specific activities that an individual may not perform while using cannabis?

  • Operating, navigating or being in actual physical control of any motor vehicle, aircraft or motorboat while using or under the influence of cannabis
  • Use of cannabis by a law enforcement officer, corrections officer, probation officer or firefighter while on duty.
  • Use of cannabis by a person who has a school bus driver’s permit or a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) while on duty.
  • Driving under the influence and reckless driving based on THC impairment may continue to be charged.


How will marijuana be taxed?

There is a graduated tax set up for recreational marijuana in Illinois:

  • Marijuana and cannabis-infused products with less than 35% THC will be taxed at 10% of the purchase price
  • Cannabis-infused products with more than 35% THC will be taxed at 20% of the purchase price
  • Marijuana with more than 35% THC will be taxed at 25% of the purchase price
  • Medical marijuana is exempted from these taxes. Individual municipalities can also levy additional taxes on recreational marijuana if they choose to, in .25% increments not exceeding 3.75% in unincorporated areas of a county, .75% in a municipality located in a non-home rule county, and 3% in municipalities located in home rule counties.


State taxes, where do they go?

State revenues derived from the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act will be deposited into the Cannabis Regulation Fund. The funds will be distributed to multiple state agencies for implementation of the Act. The legalization of adult cannabis also includes a new source of Local Government Distributive Fund (LGDF) dollars. A portion of the Cannabis Regulation Fund revenues (8% of deposits) will go to local governments, through LGDF, which will be used to fund crime prevention programs, training and interdiction efforts. The Cannabis Regulation Fund is derived from moneys collected from state taxes, license fees and other amounts required to be transferred into the Fund.


Local taxes?

Municipalities, by ordinance, may impose a Municipal Cannabis Retailers’ Occupation Tax on adult-use cannabis products of up to 3% of the purchase price, in .25% increments. Counties may impose up to 3.75% in unincorporated areas, in .25% increments. The taxes imposed under this Act shall be in addition to all other occupation, privilege or excise taxes imposed by the State of Illinois or by any unit of local government, such as sales tax.


How will DUI’s be addressed under the new law?

  • Driving under the influence of cannabis will continue to be illegal.
  • The Act allows for use of validated roadside chemical tests or standardized field sobriety tests approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration when conducting investigations of a violation of Section 11-501 of the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5/11-501) or a similar local ordinance by drivers suspected of driving under the influence of cannabis.
  • The results of validated roadside chemical tests and standardized field sobriety tests are, under the Act, admissible at a civil or criminal trial or proceeding for an arrest for a cannabis-related offense as defined in Section 11-501 of the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code or a similar local ordinance.
  • The Act creates a DUI Cannabis Task Force to examine best practices for enforcement of driving under the influence of cannabis laws and emerging technology in roadside testing for impairment.
  • The Act creates various statutory presumptions applicable to cannabis DUIs:
    • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of 5 nanograms or more in whole blood or 10 nanograms or more in an other bodily substance creates a presumption that a person was under the influence of cannabis; and
    • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of less than 5 nanograms in whole blood or less than 10 nanograms in an other bodily substance does not give rise to a presumption that the person was or was not under the influence of cannabis, but may be considered with other competent evidence in determining whether the person was under the influence of cannabis.
  • The refusal to submit to a chemical test will result in the imposition of driver’s license sanctions under Section 11-501.1 of the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code.
  • The refusal to take validated roadside chemical tests or standardized field sobriety tests is admissible in any civil or criminal action or proceeding regarding impairment by use of cannabis.
  • An authorized medical cannabis patient who drives is deemed to have given consent to (i) validated roadside chemical tests or (ii) standardized field sobriety tests.
  • Law enforcement officers must have an independent, cannabis-related factual basis giving reasonable suspicion that a person is driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while impaired by the use of cannabis to conduct validated roadside chemical tests or standardized field sobriety tests.


May an employer maintain a drug-free workplace?

  • The Act specifies that nothing shall prohibit an employer from adopting:
    • reasonable zero-tolerance or drug-free workplace policies;
    • employment policies concerning drug testing; or
    • regulations concerning smoking, consumption, storage or use of cannabis at the workplace or while on call.
  • These policies must be applied in a nondiscriminatory manner.
  • Employers’ policies may cover use of cannabis in the employer’s workplace, while performing the employee’s job duties or while “on call.” An employee is deemed “on call” when he or she is scheduled with at least 24 hours’ notice by employer to be on standby or otherwise responsible for performing tasks related to his or her employment.
  • An employer may discipline an employee for violating a workplace drug policy. If the employer elects to discipline the employee, the employer must give the employee reasonable opportunity to contest the determination.
  • Nothing in the Act shall be construed to interfere with any federal, state or local restrictions on employment including, but not limited to, the United States Department of Transportation regulation 49 CFR 40.151(e), or impact an employer’s ability to comply with federal or state law or cause it to lose a federal or state contract or funding.
  • The Illinois Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act prohibits discrimination for the use of a lawful product while off duty or not on call. (820 ILCS 55/5.).


What debilitating conditions qualify for medical cannabis registry identification card?

Qualifying patients must be diagnosed with a debilitating condition, as defined in the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, to be eligible for a medical cannabis registry identification card in Illinois.

  • Autism
  • Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Arnold-Chiari malformation
  • Cancer
  • Cachexia/wasting syndrome
  • Causalgia
  • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
  • Chronic pain
  • Crohn’s disease
  • CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome Type II)
  • Dystonia
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
  • Fibrous Dysplasia
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Hydromyelia
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Lupus
  • Migraines
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Myoclonus
  • Nail-patella syndrome
  • Neuro-Bechet’s autoimmune disease
  • Neurofibromatosis
  • Neuropathy
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Polycystic kidney disease (PKD)
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
  • Residual limb pain
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Seizures (including those characteristic of Epilepsy)
  • Severe fibromyalgia
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Spinal cord disease (including but not limited to arachnoiditis)
  • Spinal cord injury is damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
  • Spinocerebellar ataxia
  • Superior canal dehiscence syndrome
  • Syringomyelia
  • Tarlov cysts
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Ulcerative colitis


* These Illinois cannabis recourses and facts were procured from the Illinois Municipal League and the Illinois Department of Public Health